Monday, March 11, 2013

Smilie Reads!  Paolo Freire, a Brazilian educator and philosopher, talks about how we all read our world, the sights, sounds, relationships that make up our everyday routines.   Every child grows up reading the world.  Then when children enter school we have the profound obligation to teach children to read symbols, letters and text on pages, to make sense of the written word, to read and to love to read books.  If you can read, you can teach yourself anything -- books provide the tools to mediate the world and find success.
     Each child learns differently.  Our curriculum supports multiple strategies, techniques, programs and processes to stimulate each child.   As educators we honor, respect and work hard to meet this responsibility.  Recently, Smilie Memorial School in Bolton took the month of February to celebrate reading.
     Their program, Smilie Reads!, involved a series of events, speakers, programs, and activities all emphasizing the power and importance of the written word.  The theme, Read A Book, Change The World!,  included multiple examples of individuals who have changed the world.  Each young scholar went home for February break with a free book, self painted t-shirt, memories and smiles from their final concert.  The whole school focused on the small things we do, every day, to make the world a better place.  The scholars created a beautiful sculpture by reusing water bottles, and created their own t-shirts.  Parents, family and community members visited classrooms as guest readers, enthusiastically promoting reading and sharing their expertise.
     The final celebratory concert on February 21st was bubbling with scholars, staff and faculty; the gym was packed with family members. As I sat in the audience filming the performance, I reflected on how truly thankful I am to our children for exploring books, for committing to learning, to the families of Bolton who wholeheartedly support their children, and to our faculty and staff for making this all possible.  If you get a moment, visit a school, ask a child what book he or she is reading, and then read that book yourself!
     Thank you to all who made Smilie Reads! a success, the Cheryl Jennings Reading Fund and all others who donated their time and effort to help the children of Bolton read the word along with reading their world. For more details of this event, visit the Smilie website.

~Jennifer Botzojorns, Assistant Superintendent